Part II – Look Out…You’re Marketing May Be Drowning!
In last week’s article, we covered how to measure and increase your Return on Investment with your marketing.
In this week’s article (Part II), we’re going to look at how to improve the response rate to your marketing.
Like you, I get a lot of “junk” mail at home. I rarely look at it. For that matter, I’ve stopped sifting through my mail inside my house. I grab it from the mailbox, walk over to my recycling can and go through it there so I can junk the “junk mail.”
And not to digress…but it’s funny how we’ve named bulk mailings “junk” mail. If you own or operate any company chances are you send out of this “junk” mail. The trick is to make your “junk” mail not junk!
While I sort through my stack of mail, I keep an eye out for dental mailings. Most, while well printed and on nice paper, etc., are “junk” mail in its truest sense: anonymous, bland, don’t stand out and utterly forgettable!
Happily none of the mailings I’ve received at my house are from clients!
Twenty years ago, when only a few dentists marketed via direct mail, it was easy to get a response. Those “good-ole” days have been over for quite some time.
The current scene: it’s rare for a week to go by without something in my mailbox from a local dentist – whether it’s a “Penny Saver” type ad, postcard or newsletter.
So, it used to be you were the only one “talking,” making it easy to be “heard.” Now…you’re competing with a crowd.
Try having ten people yell at/talk to you at the same time. What do you hear?Chances are nothing. If you do listen to someone it’s not necessarily the one speaking the loudest. It’s the one who’s saying something that REALLY interests you or grabs your attention!
If you know anything about the MGE New Patient Workshop, you know that we have MGE clients survey before they do any marketing. By surveying, they determine what the bulk of people they will be marketing to need and want. Marketing with no survey is foolish.
Assuming you’ve surveyed, you will have established the key needs and wants of your potential public. Now you have to communicate in such a way that you will be HEARD.
You could take the best survey data and completely ruin it with a bland, generic presentation. And honestly that’s what I’d have to say ALL of the dental marketing I get in my mailbox looks like. Forgettable, bland….just blah. “Have a beautiful smile.” “Dentistry for the whole family.” “Same day veneers with a CEREC (which most have no idea what this is…) They might as well do a white postcard with the word DENTIST printed on it with their address and phone number. Actually that would probably stand out…because it is DIFFERENT.
The point I’m making is that whatever you mail should stand out. You don’t have much time to make an impression! It should be noticed IMMEDIATELY. It might be funny, unique looking – whatever. I’ve seen quite a few MGE clients do this well. And while I can’t tell you exactly what they did (their original idea – they would have to share), they used their survey information and put some thought into their presentation!
Now, getting too “cute” can backfire. I remember a client who put a freaked out patient in a dental chair with a syringe in the foreground on a promo piece. Something about being scared of the dentist. It didn’t do so well. Probably just fed into the fear all of the people who were afraid! To their credit though, they were trying hard. They pulled the plug quickly and came right back with a promotion that hit like gangbusters.
Remember marketing is CREATIVE. And even more important: you talk to patients EVERYDAY. If you know what to say (by surveying), you probably won’t have a hard time getting in their “heads” and figuring out HOW to say it with words and images! And with your familiarity you’d most likely have a better chance at figuring out how to reach them than some Madison Avenue Ad Exec!
I’ve done this with MGE’s promotion and I’ll give you an example to get your creative juices flowing. We do a free seminar called the “Real Solution to Cancellations and No-Shows.” It’s a great seminar and we do it most major cities. Cancellations and No-Shows are a problem for dentists. Our initial promotion was simple, explained the seminar, had an empty dental chair and a full one (i.e. turn this (empty chair) into this (full chair). This worked for quite some time, then gradually became less effective. We had some competition for this market segment and it (the promo) got old. And this is something to keep in mind: marketing does get old. You need to switch things up after a time.
So we had to retool. What did we do. Well, one of the new pieces we came up with cuts right to the bone. We have a laughing guy on his cell phone with his laughing buddies on the golf course cancelling his dental appointment (because he’s really busy, you know…and the doctor should understand) at the last minute. With an upset receptionist on the other end! This hit BIG. Responses were out the roof. The images and copy grabbed people’s attention and resonated with how they were thinking and feeling.
The seminar itself was virtually the same as it always was. It was a good seminar – no need to change. We just needed to market it differently.
I know I’ve run on a bit. But keep this in mind for 2015. You’re marketing into a sea of other people’s messages and advertising. How can you stand out? How can you grab people’s attention? Of course this should be done in a professional and tasteful way – but it can be funny, aesthetic, or whatever. Imagine you are a prospective patient. Look at your marketing and with that mindset see if it grabs YOUR attention.